Catholic Church Flexing Muscle in U.S. Hospitals

Catholic Church Flexing Muscle in U.S. Hospitals January 3, 2015

According to Wikipedia:

The Roman Catholic Church is the largest non-government provider of health care services in the world. It has around 18,000 clinics, 16,000 homes for the elderly and those with special needs, and 5,500 hospitals, with 65 per cent of them located in developing countries. In 2010, the Church’s Pontifical Council for Pastoral Assistance to Health Care Workers said that the Church manages 26% of the world’s health care facilities. The Church’s involvement in health care has ancient origins.

What a sweet bunch of guys, huh? Actually yes, I’d say.

But check this out:

US Bishops Working To Ban Hospitals From Providing Women With Common Form Of Birth Control

Last month, seemingly without notice or reason, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops changed its policy and banned Genesys Health System, a Catholic medical center in Michigan, from performing tubal ligations, the second most common form of birth control for women in their 30s and 40s in America. Upon a woman’s request, immediately after she had given birth, doctors would “tie her tubes” to prevent future pregnancies. 700,000 are performed annually across the country.

According to ProPublica, quoted in the article, “Ten of the 25 largest health systems in the nation — and four of the five largest nonprofit networks —are now Catholic-sponsored.” This is important, as the article says, because Catholic Bishops control policy in Catholic hospitals in thousands of communities across the United States.

It matters what’s legal, and we’re all behind maximized access to reproductive care for all women. But what’s LEGAL and what’s AVAILABLE are unfortunately two different things. And may soon be even more so.

The Catholic Church of course believes it has the right to limit health care to women according to various tenets of its core doctrine. But isn’t this the same thing as a cab driver in Alabama refusing to pick up a black man, or a bakery owner refusing to make a cake for a gay wedding? The driver and baker have every right to their private views, but out in the public sector, they MAY NOT USE THOSE VIEWS as grounds for refusing to provide full and equal service to members of the public.

If these are public hospitals — and they are — this policy is intolerable.

 

 


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